Description: Small erect perennials, mostly less than 15 cm high, glabrous. Stems green or yellowish, articulated at nodes, terete or compressed or most often strongly flattened in one plane forming a cladode.
Leaves rudimentary, opposite, usually distichous but sometimes decussate, forming a border mostly <1 mm high around flower clusters.
Flowers developing successively in lateral monoecious clusters, surrounded and separated by multicellular sparsely branched thick-walled hairs which often form a raised mound (floral cushion); first-formed flower axillary and usually male, subsequent flowers developing laterally and usually also in rows below the first, mostly female. Male flowers globose to obconical, c. 0.5 mm diam., attenuate into a short stipe to 0.5 mm long, with 3 persistent triangular tepals; anthers 3, 2-locular, cohering, introrse, opening by apical pores. Female flowers globose or pear-shaped, usually less than 0.5 mm diam.; tepals 3, persistent on fruit.
Fruit pear-shaped or ellipsoid, seldom reaching 2 mm long; seed disc-shaped, c. 1 mm diam.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 30 species, Japan to Malesia, Australia & New Zealand. Australia: 6 species (3 endemic), Qld, N.S.W., Vic., S.A.
Text by A. L. Quirico
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Branches flattened in same plane as parent stem; 3 longitudinal veins raised and distinct and up to 4 weaker longitudinal veins and reticulate venation visible||Korthalsella breviarticulata|
|Branches mostly flattened transversely to parent stem; a central vein raised and distinct and usually 1 pair of lateral longitudinal veins more or less distinct||Korthalsella rubra|